Specifications for Student Work in MTH 410

Specifications for mathematical proofs

A mathematical proof that represents professionally acceptable work follows all of the following specifications with only minimal deviations. These are taken from Appendix A: Guidelines for Writing Mathematical Proofs from Ted Sundstrom's Mathematical Reasoning: Writing and Proof provided on the Blackboard site. This is the textbook used in MTH 210, and these guidelines are the standard specifications for proof writing used in all proof-based courses at GVSU.

  1. The proof is written at a level that is appropriate for an audience for MTH 410. We will assume that this "standard audience" is a peer in MTH 410 who is knowledgeable of the content of the course but who may not be familiar with what you are writing about.
  2. The proof is preceded by a carefully worded statement of the theorem or result to be proven.
  3. The proof begins with a statement of your assumptions.
  4. The proof uses the pronoun "we" instead of "I".
  5. The proof uses italicized fonts for variables.
  6. The proof does not use * for multiplication or ^ for exponents, but rather juxtaposition or a dot (in LaTeX: \cdot) for multiplication and superscripts for exponents.
  7. The proof is written in a narrative format that uses complete sentences and proper paragraph structure. In particular, the proof avoids all of the following mechanical errors: Misspelled words; subject-verb disagreements in sentences; misused punctuation; and incomplete sentences.
  8. The proof keeps the reader informed at all times. In particular, the proof explicitly states the method being used, and before significant steps are made the proof informs the reader what is about to take place.
  9. The proof uses displayed math mode, rather than inline mathematical notation, for all important equations and mathematical expressions.
  10. If it is necessary to number equations in a proof, the equations that are numbered are centered and displayed and given a number using a consistent numbering system written in parentheses on the same line as the equation at the right-hand margin.
  11. The proof avoids the use of symbols at the beginning of sentences.
  12. The proof strikes a good balance between the use of English and the use of mathematical notation, and mathematical notation is not misused. In particular, the use of the equals sign (=) for any purpose other than to claim that two mathematical expressions are equal renders a proof invalid.
  13. The proof indicates when the proof has been completed.
  14. The proof is easy to read and as simple as possible in its structure.


Specifications for submission of Learning Modules

When submitting work for a Learning Module, it must abide by the following technical formatting specifications:

Specifications for Concept Checks

Most Concept Check items will be objective in nature (true/false, multiple choice, etc.) where only the answer is graded. The sole specification for this work is that the answer must be correct and clearly indicated on the Concept Check form.

Specifications for CORE-M objective problems

CORE-M problems are problems done in a timed setting, each of which addresses exactly one CORE-M learning objective. They usually involve performing some kind of computation, building an example, or something similarly hands-on. These are not typically proofs. Work on these CORE-M problems must follow the following specifications: